Parents who have children in Upper Arlington schools are invited to a UA Parent Food Show to sample student lunch dishes.
The event is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in the cafeteria at Upper Arlington High School, 1650 Ridgeview Road.
Chris Potts, executive director of business services, said representatives from several major food manufacturing companies, including Tyson, JennieO, General Mills and Apple & Eve, would be showcasing their products.
Parents will be asked to take a food service survey at the event. Those who are not able to attend are asked to take the survey online; there is a link on the front page of the district's website, uaschools.org.
"Our goal for the survey is to get a comprehensive view from our families about the entire food service operation," he said. "Not only are we looking for feedback on new menu items, but trends of why families choose to buy lunch versus not buying lunch."
Potts updated school board members on the food service event and survey at a Sept. 10 board of education meeting.
"We want to know what influences parents' daily decisions to allow students to purchase lunch through our program," he said.
He said the district is continuously reviewing and evaluating its lunch menus to look for ways to improve offerings.
Researchers from Ohio State University will analyze the survey results, but all responses will be "held in strict confidentiality and not associated with individual parent names, Potts said.
"Once the results are analyzed by Ohio State, we will review the adjustments we need to make to our program to drive more traffic through our lunch lines," he said.
He said the estimated time to complete the survey is 15 minutes.
Potts said JoAnna Brooks, director of the food service program, came up with the idea to have the Parent Food Show.
At a food service update at the end of April, Brooks said federal mandates are complicating district menu choices by insisting on changes such as offering only whole-grain breads, certain colors of vegetables throughout the week and no mixed vegetables.
Potts also updated school board members on the district wellness program. He said the Wellness Advisory Council is composed of teachers, administrators, parents and nurses.
Last school year, the committee updated the District Wellness Administrative Guideline on nutrition and physical activity.
Through committee guidelines, representatives helped create building participation in International Walk to School Day; walking clubs at the schools; the Wickliffe after-school cooking club with Whole Foods; the Windermere Move Band Challenge; Zumba classes at Greensview; the Hastings Triathlon and Walking Wednesdays at Barrington.
Potts said the district's staff wellness program is funded by its insurance carrier, Anthem.
Last year, staff members participated in biometric screenings, a bootcamp program, stress management seminars by Ohio Health at every building, a sleep hygiene seminar by Mount Carmel Hospital and a Pedometer Challenge program.
This school year's staff wellness plans include biometric screenings and bootcamp, along with yoga classes, a partnership with The Market District, Pilates class discounts at My Own Gym at Tremont Center and a corporate discount at Premier Sawmill Athletic Club.